• Saturday, Aug 08, 2020
  • Last Update : 03:37 am

BDR mutiny: Victims’ families disappointed as conspirators not revealed

  • Published at 11:38 am February 25th, 2020
bdr mutiny relatives at banani
Relatives of the officers, who were killed in 2009 BDR mutiny, break down in tears at the Banani Military Graveyard in Dhaka on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

They said they are waiting to see the execution of the verdict so that none can dare to commit such offences in future

Relatives of military officers killed in the 2009 BDR mutiny have expressed disappointment, as they still do not know the identities of the conspirators behind the killing.

Even after eleven years, the reasons behind the mutiny or the identities of the conspirators have not been revealed, they say.

On February 25, 2009, several hundred disgruntled Bangladesh Rifles personnel – later renamed Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) – rose up in an armed revolt at Darbar Hall during a three-day “BDR Week” inside their Pilkhana headquarters and killed 74 people, including 57 deputed army officers.

To mark the anniversary, the near and dear ones of the deceased placed floral wreaths on their graves at the Banani Military Graveyard in Dhaka, on Tuesday.

They also said they are waiting for the execution of the verdict so that none can dare commit such offences in future.

Speaking about the reason behind the mutiny, Habibur Rahman, father of deceased Colonel Quadrat Elahi Rahman Shafique, said: "Nothing [of the actual reason] has been brought to light. I do not know whether I will be able to see the execution of the verdict in my lifetime or not."

“He [Shafique] had just joined the BDR one month and 10 days prior to the mutiny. He committed no crime to be killed so brutally,” he sighed.

"This wound will never heal. I will have to carry it for the rest of my life.”

Officers from Bangladesh military services pray for the victims of 2009 BDR mutiny at Banani Military Graveyard on February 25, 2020 | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka TribuneShafique’s son, advocate Saquib Rahman, last saw his father on February 21, 2009, when he came to visit him at Brac university. He remembers telling his father that the uniform did not quite fit him.

Expressing frustration with the investigation of the mutiny, he said: “The conspirators’ identities are not revealed yet.”

Jebunnahar Sarkar, sister of mutiny victim Major Mominul Islam Sarkar, said: "We are waiting for the execution of the verdict. We hope the government will ensure punishment so that no one can dare to commit such offences."

Jebunnahar lamented and said that her brother’s child was born just 12 days after he was killed in the mutiny.

Jahanara Begum, a very elderly woman was crying before the grave of Major Humayun Haider. She was not only his mother-in-law, but also a maternal aunt to Haider.

When this correspondent approached her, she said: “I don’t have any language to express ... Actually nothing is left to say.”

Marking the day, representatives of the president and the prime minister placed wreaths at the Military Graveyard in the morning.

The home minister, the army, navy and air force chiefs, the BGB director general (DG) and many others, were also present to pay tribute to the killed officers.

BGB DG Maj Gen Md Shafeenul Islam said all officers and soldiers are working hard to prevent such incidents from reoccurring in the future.

Recalling the allegations of lack of proper intelligence failing to forecast the mutiny, he said: “BGB has its own intelligence. Now BGB intelligence has been reformed which has spread to the district level. If there were any lackings in the past, they are being rectified at present.”

Relatives of the 2009 BDR mutiny victims lament over their loss at Banani Military Graveyard on February 25, 2020 | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune‘Justice yet to be met’

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, placing floral wreaths on the graves, said justice is yet to be met.

“A true verdict has not been served. The probe report of the military is yet to be made public. Although unfortunate, it is true that we cannot see the freedom of the Justice Division.”

The mutiny finally ended the day after it began, with the surrender of firearms, ammunition, and grenades, through negotiations between the government and the BDR rebels.

Following the mutiny, the paramilitary force was renamed Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

A total of 58 cases were filed in connection with the incident: one for serious crimes, including murder and looting, and the rest for mutiny.

On November 5, 2013, a trial court pronounced death sentences on 152 of the accused while another 423 were sentenced to different prison terms. On November 27, 2017, the High Court upheld the death sentence for 139 convicts. It also commuted the death sentence of eight convicts to life imprisonment and acquitted four others.

In January this year, the High Court released the text of its 29,059-page verdict confirming the death penalty for 139 and upholding life imprisonment for 185 others over their involvement in the massacre.

It also handed down rigorous imprisonment, ranging from one year to 14 years, to 256 people, mostly BDR soldiers. It acquitted the remaining 278, but the government later appealed against the acquittal of 69 of them.

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